An Era of Multiple Careers

I’ve never been a henchman (well, that’s not exactly true) but I’ve had a number of jobs over the years. I’ve fried chicken at KFC and written scripts for MGM. I’ve been a professional artist and a professional pyrotechnician. Scrubbed floors in an elementary school and been a production supervisor on an animation series. (Those last two are more similar than you might think.) The list could go on for quite a while.

And the strange thing is that I’ve enjoyed and learned from every one of those jobs. Well, except for phone sales. About all I learned from phone sales is that I would rather do just about anything else.

Seriously, I still take pride in how well I can use a mop. Pots of boiling grease hold no fear. I can double-wrap a four-ounce lifter that is such a work of art it’s almost a shame to blow it apart. And I learned that when you are in charge of a project, whether you are a director or a supervising producer or whatever your title is, your primary responsibility is to give a shit. That doesn’t mean micromanaging or being abusive; it just means determinedly doing the best you can with whatever limited resources and time you have been allotted.

And if no one else is available to do a new task — such as often happens when you are broke and/or self-employed (or both) — well, it may be time to learn to do that job yourself.

Frankly, I had always assumed that once I was an adult, I would have a job that I knew how to do well, and that I would, over the course of time, learn to do it better and better until I eventually achieved some sort of radiant skill-based nirvana.  At which point I would routinely output work of godlike brilliance, solidly based on the unchanging standards of whatever prowess I had chosen to acquire.

(laughs hollowly)

Don’t mind me, I’m just trying to create another website using WordPress. Now, you would think, given that I just made this website only a few months ago, that I could basically just take all the code and tweaks that I did here and dump them over there and throw up some different art and text and be done. But no. In those few intervening months, at least three of the plugins I used to create this site have been abandoned by their creators and no longer exist. They still function here — at least until the next upgrade — but I can’t put them over there. I have to install and learn new plugins, some of which I can see visibly squirming under my grasp like baggies full of earthworms, maliciously altering their code even as I try to utilize them.

I have other sites that use Flash, or video codecs that Apple — because apparently that company hates me for some reason — has decided to stop supporting. It feels like tap-dancing on a mountain of scree. Everything learned yesterday no longer applies today. It’s exciting, but it’s also terrifying. The job I’m doing now could not have existed ten years ago; and ten years from now it may not exist again. All I can do — all any of us can do — is just keep learning new things, and accept that we may need to shift careers multiple times in our lives. Because no job’s the same as it used to be.

Except maybe mopping the floor.

Bob out.

Artist’s Notes:  On this page, we sort of give away the approximate location of our story – Los Angeles, if you haven’t guessed already. Specifically, Studio City, my adopted city of resident.  This really is an awesome place to live and its extremely ‘walkable’ which is not something that’s common in LA.  My wife and I walk our neighborhood every day, literally, our destination one or more of the local shops on Ventura Boulevard, which is the inspiration for the street scene depicted.  -Max